As she advocates for women’s issues at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Yvonne Garcia wants to see more men at the table.
The State Street executive started a two-year term as chair of the Women’s Network Advisory Board at the chamber on Jan. 1, taking over for Susan Esper of Deloitte. Among other things, the women’s network hosts breakfasts throughout the year with featured speakers and discussions on certain themes or topics.
The chamber will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Network this year. But Garcia says there’s still more work to be done to advance the network’s causes in Boston’s business community.
Garcia would like to see more strides made with regard to equalizing pay between men and women, flex time for working parents, and putting women and minorities in C-suite jobs and on corporate boards. To help accomplish those goals, Garcia wants to encourage more men to participate.
“What good is it if we are just sitting in a room [by] ourselves talking about the issues, when we are not including other individuals who can help?” Garcia says. “I would like to include men as part of the programming, to be able to share their insights.”
Garcia should have a little more time to devote to the chamber this year, now that she has decided to step down as board chair of the country’s largest professional organization for Latinos, ALPFA, after six years in that role.
Garcia wants to advocate for more racial diversity among the ranks of the Women’s Network, too. “When you surround yourself with more perspectives, you provide yourself with a richer experience,” she says.
The chamber will play up the 25th anniversary at the Pinnacle Awards, an annual Women’s Network event on Feb. 1 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. This year’s honorees include Marlo Fogelman, principal at Marlo Marketing; Amy Latimer, president at TD Garden; Lisa Wieland, port director at the Massachusetts Port Authority; Deborah Hughes, CEO of Brookview House; Dani Monroe, chief diversity officer at Partners HealthCare; Zorica Pantic, president of Wentworth Institute of Technology; Julie Livingstone, development manager at HYM Investment Group; and Anita Hill, professor at Brandeis University. — JON CHESTO
Excited to be downtown
The Quincy Chamber of Commerce is back in the mix.
Its four-person staff set up shop about a month ago on the 9th and 10th floors — the top two levels — of the Granite Trust tower, a landmark building overlooking Quincy Square whose lobby is now home to Bank of America.
The new location puts the chamber in the heart of Quincy Center’s finally-gaining-steam renaissance, after it spent several about a mile away on Old Colony Avenue — far from the action.
The chamber’s president, Tim Cahill, says he has wanted to move downtown since he took the job in 2017. Eastern Nazarene College’s decision to sell the building where the chamber had been located forced the issue.
The chamber will open a co-working space at its new location in the spring, with the help of a $75,000 state grant. The space, to be christened IQ, for either “Innovate Quincy” or “Incubate Quincy,” will be smaller than the one the chamber ran in the Eastern Nazarene building. That incubator, known as the Quincy Center for Innovation, remains open for now under Eastern Nazarene’s oversight, Cahill says. But several startups have left, in anticipation of the building’s sale. For example, a group that includes Cara Group Travel, Ananya Technology, SERPCOM, and Nisse Designs decamped for Marina Bay earlier in the fall.
Cahill says he’s excited to be in the thick of things as developers such as Peter O’Connell, LBC Boston, and FoxRock Properties reshape the city’s downtown. And there’s no longer any need to get in the car to grab lunch.
“It’s helpful for us to be downtown, there with everyone else,” Cahill says. “We were isolated where we were. Now, we’re in the middle of it. . . . You just go out for a walk, and run into 15 businesses.” — JON CHESTO
At top lobbying firms, few women
Jessica Beeson Tocco looks at Boston’s top lobbying firms and still sees few women in leadership roles. It’s a shortcoming Tocco aims to change, as she takes off on a new flight with her firm, A10 Associates LLC.
Tocco says she kept the six -year-old firm dormant after she was recruited to join Rasky Partners two years ago. Tocco was in demand because she was one of the few lobbyists in Boston with connections to the Trump-Pence administration. (Tocco got her start in politics in Indiana, where she worked with Mike Pence during his first congressional bid.) At Rasky, Tocco led the firm’s effort to build a national practice.
She decided to strike out on her own and left Rasky in September, relaunching A10 the following month. A10 registered as a state lobbyist in November and listed Vineyard Wind as its first Massachusetts client. The firm says it now has more than 20 clients. Other local clients include the med-tech firm Myomo Inc., construction business J. Derenzo, and Drew Co., a real estate developer.
Former Rasky colleagues Tori Bentkover and Mitchell Howkins joined Tocco’s new venture, which she runs out of the CIC at 50 Milk St. in Boston.
Tocco’s last name is a familiar one in town. Her husband, John Tocco, is a local executive at Wynn Resorts, and her father-in-law, Steve Tocco, leads ML Strategies, Boston’s busiest lobbying firm.
While A10 lobbies at the state and local levels as well, Tocco specializes in chasing federal infrastructure funds. Earmarks are no longer in vogue in Congress, she says, so lobbying the administration has become more important. “The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world,” Tocco says.
Tocco plans to eventually get on the list of Boston’s 10 biggest lobbying agencies. One strategy: making her business more accommodating to women who want to balance their work responsibilities with raising a family.
Around the time Tocco registered A10 with the state, A10 donated $2,500 for Governor Charlie Baker’s inaugural celebration. The inaugural committee refunded $2,300 after the Globe inquired about the gift, which exceeded a self-imposed cap of $200 that Baker had set for lobbyists. Tocco says she has been a longtime fan of Baker and plans to support him when she can.
And what about the unusual name for her company?
It reflects Tocco’s roots – a childhood near an Air Force base in rural Indiana. “A10 is a military plane, it flies low to the ground and covers the soldiers, and it gets the job done,” Tocco says. — JON CHESTO
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